AFTER the success of its road show in Mindanao last month, Sikat, the Philippines’ second solar car, is scheduled to visit universities in the Visayas to educate students about renewable energy.

“Aside from showcasing Sikat, we would also like to inspire students to come up with projects that are environment-friendly,” said Jane Poticano, an electronics and communications engineering (ECE) student of De La Salle University (DLSU) in Manila, during the exhibit at the University of San Carlos in Talamban yesterday.

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The exhibit arrived in the Visayas just as the region braced for more brownouts resulting from a 200-megawatt power shortage.

Preventive maintenance for plants in Cebu and Leyte is behind the shortage, although the lack of new power generation plants in the Visayas has been repeatedly discussed in the last five years.


Poticano is part of the team, composed of faculty and students from the mechanical engineering and ECE department of DLSU, who designed and created the solar-powered car.

The project is in partnership with the Philippine Solar Challenge Society, Inc. (PSCS), a non-stock, non-profit organization that promotes renewable energy sources.

It took the team a year to finish the project with the help of the Sunpower Corp., Ford Philippines, Pilipinas Shell and Motolite.

Poticano added that Sikat (Sunshine) is an offshoot and an improved version of Sinag (Rays of the Sun), the first solar-powered car in the Philippines that was launched in 2007.

“Sikat is better. It is lighter, smaller and more aerodynamic than Sinag,” Poticano said.

The P5-million solar car weighs 190 kilograms (kg), roughly 100kg lighter than Sinag. It has a top speed of 112 kilometers per hour.

While Sinag introduced the Philippine Solar Energy effort to the world, Sikat aims to make every Filipino aware of the benefits of using solar energy, through a series of road shows.

“Solar energy is something that is so abundant, especially for the Philippines. We believe solar energy can be the fuel of choice for transportation in the future, but it starts with awareness. This year’s efforts—the songwriting contest, the launch of Sikat, and the road shows across the Philippines—are geared toward making the youth and the general public aware of the benefits of solar technology, and our potential to lead in it, as a nation,” said Ramon Agustines, Motolite chief executive officer and PSCS chairperson.

After Cebu, Sikat is set to visit the universities in Bacolod and Iloilo this month. The solar car will also be on display in SM malls.

The team is set to compete in the 2011 World Solar Challenge in Australia, the same competition that recognized Sinag, which finished 12th out of 40 in a 3,000-kilometer race in 2007.